Entrepreneurs launch new venture - producing green products and area jobs

Hillsborough County just got greener with the help of business owners Maria Smith and Geraldo Florez. The husband-and-wife team, along with community leaders from the county, City of Tampa, and Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Tampa Bay, celebrated their new facility in East Tampa with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, January 11, 2024. Their company, American Industrial Guide, LLC, designs, develops, produces, and markets biodegradable products for industrial, institutional, and domestic cleaning and disinfection.

The couple hails from Colombia and started the company in their hometown over 20 years ago. Two years ago, however, Smith and Flores decided to make the move to the United States and after much research, decided Hillsborough County would be the perfect place to open their business.

Building a new business is a significant undertaking for anyone but when you add a new country, unfamiliar business regulations, and a language barrier the task can be monumental. One of the first places Smith and Flores turned to for help was the Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the University of South Florida (USF) subcenter in Hillsborough County. Janette Blanco, assistant director of the Florida SBDC at Hillsborough County, spoke at the ribbon-cutting ceremony earlier this month. She expressed how proud the center was to provide technical assistance and help launch American Industrial Guide, LLC.

Educating on legal structures, explaining community engagement in Hillsborough County, and strategic planning were just a few ways the Florida SBDC at Hillsborough County assisted Smith and Flores. The center helped the couple put everything they learned into action.

Smith and Flores, both chemical engineers, have over 20 years of experience in the field of designing biodegradable solutions. To make cleaning products that are biodegradable and safe for people and the environment, engineers research biological compositions, make use of industrial biological waste, and combine them with other raw materials.

The 4,000-square-foot warehouse in East Tampa will be the site for research, production, and wholesale operations, and the property has plenty of room for expansion. Smith and Flores want to develop not only the company but the surrounding community and look forward to hiring locally and contributing to the financial growth of the area.

If you are a budding business owner and want to make an impact in Hillsborough County, the Florida SBDC at Hillsborough County is ready to help. As part of Hillsborough County Economic Development, the center serves entrepreneurs and small businesses throughout the County and across all industries through confidential no-cost consulting and professional training.

Whether starting, buying, growing, or selling a business, the Florida SBDC at Hillsborough County team has the expertise, experience, and resources to complement the vision and passion of Hillsborough County's businesses.

Image Caption: Entrepreneurs launch new venture with the help of Florida Small Business Development Center at Hillsborough.
Posted: 1/23/2024, 6:10:46 PM